Though the Shakespearean tragedy we’re about to discuss is somewhat Geneva-centric, the moral of the story applies to any political endeavor anywhere. So if you want to go down in electoral flames while taking your political allies with you, here’s exactly how to do it:
1. Hire a really bad campaign manager because he tells you exactly what you want to hear.
Considering the Geneva disasters over which he’s presided, I cannot fathom how self-proclaimed “kingmaker” Joe Stanton gets anyone to listen to him, much less pay him to run a campaign. The best evidence of this swath of destruction propensity is that Stanton turned a sure mayoral victory into an abject rout.
Though let me make it clear that Tom Simonian’s certainly no prize. When provided the paperwork that proved Stanton’s utter fabrication in regards to what the Burns campaign spent to beat Bob McQuillian in 2013, Alderman Simonian simply ignored it.
I suppose if you’re going to lie, lie big!
2. Put $75,000 in your campaign fund in September
I tried to warn Simonian’s confidants that, were I the opposition, I’d frame the story as another Donald Trump trying to buy another election. And the Burns camp did exactly that.
Apparently, Stanton’s theory was this kind of campaign kickoff cash would send Mayor Burns scurrying from the race like Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. The one thing you can say about Joe is he never gets tired of being wrong!
3. Attack city employees, Del Nor hospital, and the library right out of the gate
We all know Mayor Burns let’s city employees get away with murder, but there’s a right and wrong way to make that point. Saying “The inmates are running the asylum” is the wrong way, because it makes those folks rally their family, friends and neighbors to vote against you.
Something along the lines of, “We have great city employees, but there are times they need more guidance from the mayor,” would’ve been much better.
When you consider that Del Nor makes an average 200 percent yearly profit, they should pay their fair share in taxes and fees. But you have to frame that message correctly so you don’t come off as a scorch and burn kind of candidate.
That never plays well in Geneva.
Not one to stop while he isn’t ahead, Simonian insisted upon wading into the library referendum fray in a way that made folks very nervous. What’s the point of that, when the voters had the final say?
4. Put 4 by 8 yard signs on front lawns
Again, a number of people reached out to Simonian’s campaign to warn them that no one wants to see a billboard on their neighbors’ front lawn. The curt response was that voters were asking for larger signs.
Yes! And my son wanted to drive the Honda when he was 10, but we wouldn’t let him do that either! Every last one of those subdivision behemoths cost Simonian far more votes than they got him.
5. File an ethics complaint that makes you look small and petty.
No one within the sound of my voice believes the yard sign caught under the city vehicle unknown cell phone number returning it directly to the Mayor’s house story. A Heartland Elementary third-grader could come up with a better lie than that.
And yes! The City’s Ethics Commission is a joke. (Shame on you Tim Moran!)
But when one of the biggest knocks against you is you file too many lawsuits, you probably shouldn’t file a lawsuit. Not only does it makes you look like you’re trying to kill a fly with sledgehammer, but it cedes the messaging high ground to your opponent.
More to come!